Vote yes on Question 1 to make sure casino revenues finally go to increasing public school funding.
In March, more than 1,000 Maryland educators rallied in Annapolis to call on the legislature to pass the Fix the Fund Act, a bill to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to ensure that casino revenues would go to increasing school funding. Legislators heard our voices, and later that night the Senate unanimously passed the bill. The House of Delegates followed suit shortly after.
Fast forward to November. Now, all Marylanders will get to vote on the constitutional amendment as Question 1 on their ballots. If Question 1 passes, it will mean an additional $500 million for public schools annually. That means significant progress in raising educator salaries, hiring more school staff, and closing the $2.9 billion annual underfunding of our schools.
“Voting yes on Question 1 won’t just add badly needed funding to our public schools,” said MSEA President Cheryl Bost, “it keeps a promise to voters. When Marylanders voted to expand casinos, we thought that money would go to increasing school funding. It simply hasn’t happened. It’s time to make that right.”
For years, politicians have played shell games with the casino revenues in the Education Trust Fund (ETF). As casino revenues — and the ETF — grew, governors of both parties shifted increasing amounts of school funding to other parts of their budgets.
Under Gov. O’Malley, $500 million of the $1.1 billion that flowed into the ETF was redirected elsewhere. Under Gov. Hogan, $1.4 billion of the $1.8 billion in the ETF went elsewhere. Now it’s up to voters to solve this problem by voting yes on Question 1 and making sure the initial promise of using casino revenues to increase school funding is kept.
“MSEA is helping to build a coalition of educators, parents, students, and people who care about our schools to pass Question 1. We’ll then build on that momentum by passing a new funding formula in 2019 that addresses the $2.9 billion underfunding of our schools,” said Bost. “We can take the first step to delivering the level of funding that our students truly need by passing Question 1.”